Horizon at Sandy Point

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Architect in Santa Monica

If nothing else, Frank Gehry's house in Santa Monica makes you pause and think about what makes a home, or a house, or a habitation. From the street, it is a strange enclosed box of what we in Trinidad call "galvanise" - corrugated and flat metallic sheets as outside walls. Complete with chain link fencing and gate, it might be at home anywhere in Trinidad, except that the islanders have moved away to materials with a lot more weight and permanence - concrete, stone.
Entrance to Gehry's house in Santa Monica

The story of Gehry's house is a fascinating one. He bought a typical Santa Monica home in the seventies and re-made it - gutting and exposing the interior structure, opening space by building new exterior walls. The dining room, we gather, sits on what was once the driveway. Gehry is supposed to have said that he likes buildings best during construction. After the house was completed and hated by all the neighbours, he is reported to have said that so much of new construction was junk anyway!

As a child - before he was ever thinking of architecture as a career - he played with construction materials in a hardware store that belonged to his grandfather. Gehry was born Frank Owen Goldberg in Toronto. He studied Architecture in the University of Southern California.

Examples of his public buildings include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Walt Disney Concert Hall; the Dancing House in Prague; and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Glass panels at odd angles bring reflections of street and sky into the house

View of part of the original house

Street view of side wall

As 2012 starts, Frank Gehry's house has been named the winner of the American Institute of Architects 25 year award. This is given annually to one building that is at least 25 years old, that has proved its worth over time. The controversy over his work continues among architects, artists and the public!

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